Safety in Travel
By Donna McBride
Flight attendants on the move still have to worry about
muggings on dark docks in St. Thomas and theft during
the night in Rome. Even if you stick close to your
hotel, things can still go wrong. But there are ways to
make your travels safer.
Before beginning your trip, photocopy your driver's
license, passport, credit cards, and any card
cancellation numbers. Armed with copies, you will find
it much easier to get replacements if the originals are
lost or stolen.
You probably will not spend all your time in the hotel,
so you will need to choose safe transportation. Hiring a
car and driver is a great convenience and a time saver.
Four-star hotels can be a good source for careful
drivers that are bilingual. Make sure you inquire bout
charges before setting off for the day. If on foot, wear
comfortable shoes so that you can move quickly if
necessary. If you carry a bag, keep your hand on it and
the strap across your body instead of over your
shoulder. Scope out guidebooks and street maps for each
of your destinations. Lost people make easy pickings for
street criminals. Good online sources for maps are www.maps.com and www.mapquest.com. Predators always
strike after the lost or the confused. Act as if you
know exactly where you are and where you are going and
this will exude self-confidence.
For overseas trips to a place where you do not speak the
language, pick up a phrase book. At the bare minimum,
learn to say hello, yes, no, please, and thank you in
the local language. People are more apt to help if you
show them you are trying to visit their culture instead
of bringing yours with you.
Should you choose to venture inland for an overnight
stay on your time off, pick small hotels over the larger
ones. At small hotels the staff know who you are if you
take a few minutes to treat them as individuals. Greet
the concierge by name and ask him to make all restaurant
reservations. Ask the doorman to tell drivers where you
are going and tell him when you expect to return. The
more you use the services, the more they will remember
you. It is in good taste to tip for service, so make
sure that you have money in hand and are not distracted
while searching through a wallet or purse. Do not forget
to use the chain or dead-bolt on your door at night.
Be aware of your surroundings and rely on your inner
voice to tell you things do not feel right. Of course,
it is always safest to travel in groups and much more
fun in the long run.
This article was written by Donna McBride a Gulfstream V
flight attendant based in Florida. The article
originally appeared in the September 2000 issue of the
Flight Attendant News.